With all the talk in the media of out of shape and overweight kids, this site happened to come in my mailbox one day over the summer. It’s a unique site devoted to young runners in grades 3-8. Jay Harris coaches middle school cross-country and the Distance Demons is a running club for kids in the Green Bay Wisconsin area. The Distance Demons are any kids who like to go the “extra mile” in distance running. His goal is to take his idea of the running club to a national level. This website is his first step towards this laudable goal.
The website promotes youth fitness at the elementary level through distance running. It offers tips on training, nutrition, gear, helpful links, information about running opportunities and a “Fun Stuff” page.
Under the Training and Racing Tips link are a number of simple and practical tips. Under the motto of Have Fun, Run Smart, Kick It In, Harris explains that “running smart” means knowing that distance running is as much mental as it is physical. Not only do runners have to get their bodies in shape by eating right, they also have to train and race with a sharp mind. He includes some great tips for “running smart” before, during and after races.
Another great section is on Nutrition. Here Harris summarizes what foods to eat during training, the day before and after a race and special tips involving water and avoiding “junk food”. “Fast food doesn’t make for fast runners.”
For a look at the fun side of racing, check out the “Fun Stuff” page and read the jokes, quotes, wild races and movies on running. There is even a writeup on signs that you might not be a Distance Demon!
And if you and your students are on the lookout for greater running adventures, check out the wild races on the “Fun Stuff” page. Here you’ll find races run across frozen Alaska, the Canadian Death Race and the Kid’s Death Race run in Alberta, the Antarctic Marathon, the Andes Adventures and more.